PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The city of Providence is now making it easier to pay for parking.
The capital city is in the process of expanding the number of parking meters across the city, and the hours which fees are collected.
Instead of having to go right up to the parking meter to pay, soon you’ll be able to pay form the comforts of your home, by using your cell phone.
Right now, Westminster is the only street in Providence where you can pay to park with your cell phone, as part of a pilot program that started four years ago.
Come summer 2016, the pay-by-phone option will become permanent and expand to the rest of the city.
Providence Parking Administrator, Leo Perrotta says, “I think it’s going to help significantly. It gives people more choices, makes it more convenient.”
How it works, is you log onto a website or phone app, put your name, credit card number, license plate number, and how much you want to pay.
Parking enforcement officers will look up your license plate number on their handheld device and won’t give you a ticket if you’ve already paid.
Providence resident, Rebecca Duhaime, supports the new pay method, saying “I certainly think the pay by phone would make it logistically easier for the places in Providence where it makes sense to have parking meters. I just think it doesn’t make sense to have parking meters here on Wickenden.”
The city is raising revenue by adding 700 parking meters throughout the city, including some on Wickenden Street.
Vincent Scorziello owns Campus Fine Wines and is worried his liquor store will lose business.
“You can get flowers, you can get knickknacks, you can get whatever you need on this street without paying for a parking meter somewhere else, so that’s what we’re worried about.” says Scorziello.
Providence officials say they’re working with merchants to reduce the impact on their businesses.
They’re also working out glitches with the pay-by-phone program. Some people reported paying with the app and still getting a ticket.
Perrotta says, “There are occasions where there’s non-communication with the meter, but that’s a pilot is for. As we move forward, we’ll be able to introduce an application that works and is reliable.”
The city is still estimating the cost of the new program.